What does resin from a tree native to Southeast Asia and luxury skincare have in common? Answer: Yasmin Khan and the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business.
Khan has been developing her company, Khalm Skincare, and bringing her Pakistani culture to the United States through the Master of Business Creation program at the U. It all began with one simple, natural ingredient: oud, a resin that is created by the agarwood tree when the tree fights infection.
While growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, oud was everywhere; the scent of oud incense floated down the corridors of Khan’s home and was prominent in every temple she visited.
“It stayed with me as an adult when I moved to the United States,” Khan said. “Oud was in my home scents. Oud was in my luxury perfumes. This vital ingredient was very important to me and I had the opportunity to think about, ‘Could this be in skincare?’”
At the time, Khan was heavily interested in luxury skincare, believing that the best products came from France as they were EU-regulated and therefore considered to contain low toxins that could disrupt the immune and endocrine systems. Still, she found something lacking.
“I wanted something from my homeland, ingredients from my homeland in my daily skincare routine,” Khan said.
So what’s the value of oud? According to Khan, there are many. Not only does oud have aromatherapy benefits, but it is an antioxidant and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities, making it perfect for a skincare routine — namely, perfect for Khan’s brand.
Khalm Skincare was created back in 2017. At that time, the company was mainly focused on research, development and branding, but in September of 2020, Khalm Skincare launched with inventory and is now an e-commerce enterprise.
“We are learning all the ups and downs of what that means for us,” Khan said. “We are navigating during a pandemic. We are navigating whether we need to be in retail. We are navigating who our customer is.”
Although Khan is currently building her team and deciding whether or not they should explore in-store options, in five years, she hopes to be global.
“We’re already at that precipice where our products are made in France, then put on a boat and shipped to the state of Utah,” Khan said. “We already have our footsteps as a global company … because that’s really a large part of who we, founders, are as well.”
Even in the best of times, exploring the business industry can be a daunting challenge, but Khan said the MBC program is helping her learn what Khalm Skincare needs. The curriculum has given Khan skills she didn’t have before, such as specific learning and researching strategies. In fact, it was the MBC’s promise of key insight to her business that was so alluring and drew Khan in originally.
“Although I had a big picture of where Khalm Skincare would go, I didn’t really have the nitty-gritty established,” Khan said. “The MBC program is really timely for me in getting everything essentially down in case I do want a raise, in case I do want to go venture. All those skillsets are here for me to use in case I take those pivots.”
Khan is grateful to the mentors of the MBC program who she says are really showing her the way while taking pride in her accomplishments.
“Before the MBC program, I was basically on an island,” Khan said. “Getting off that island and having a larger network base for myself and for my company really has been invaluable.”
Keep up with Khalm Skincare’s journey at khalmskincare.com. Products available for purchase include the Foaming Cleanser, Mattifying Moisturizer and Overnight Oil Elixir.